How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
ICA is one of the agencies behind the Moments of Life (MOL) initiative – one of five strategic projects under Singapore’s Smart Nation Strategic National Project. It puts together key government services which are relevant to citizens at key moments of their lives, enabling citizens to transact seamlessly with multiple agencies within a single digital platform.
My team enabled parents to register their baby’s birth and apply for Baby Bonus via a mobile app, on a single platform, and at the same time. To make this possible, we had to conduct a fundamental review of our processes and transform a paper-based practice into the digital realm. We worked closely with the various government agencies to align our processes as well as data and system requirements. We also worked with the government restructured hospitals to digitise the Notification of Live Birth upstream, so that data can flow seamlessly to make digital birth registrations a reality. The MOL app was launched on 29 June 2018 but the work is not yet finished. Our team will continue to work on adding other key life moments that matter to Singaporeans to the app.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?
ICA is moving towards digitalisation of our processes to support the Smart Nation drive. To this end, we have developed MyICA, an integrated portal that brings together all ICA e-services under a single digital platform with single log-in feature. We launched the beta version of MyICA in April 2018 with five citizen-centric e-services, including the application of passport and national identity card. Since November 2018, MyICA is now fully integrated with 15 e-services, covering almost all the transaction that the public will have with ICA. Users need only to log in once with their SingPass and make one e-payment for all their transactions. MyICA users can expect more user-friendly features as we progressively add on more features to the portal.
ICA was also conferred the Digital Transformer of the Year award by IDC’s Digital Transformation Awards in 2018, a huge recognition of our long-term digitalisation efforts.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?
Make things simple. The success of digital solutions lies in how much you can make things simple and easy for the users. Having said that, I learned that it is not at all simple to make things simple for end users.
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2019?
Analytics and machine learning. It’s fascinating what game-changing outcomes one can make happen when these two are deployed together. You’re only limited by your own imagination.
What are your priorities for 2019?
Digital transformation is a multi-year effort and this is where the focus will continue to be. We are putting in more features and simplifying things that’ll make MyICA a delight to use, reviewing our processes and service delivery touchpoints, so that customers can expect an enhanced experience in their future visits to ICA.
What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?
Taking an interest in anything and everything. It’s not so much a skill but more of an attitude. I take an interest in what’s happening around me, and I’m always prepared to learn new things. Over time, bits of knowledge over a myriad of things add up to a reservoir of resources that I can tap on for ideas for problem-solving, projects and brainstorming at work.
What advancements do you predict will happen in your field in the next ten years?
Biometrics technology and A.I. It’ll just get smarter, faster and even more accurate. It will be used across many more areas in everyday life. Trust in technology will increase and many routine tasks will become self-help because the process can be reduced to very simple steps. In terms of immigration, it means that travellers can potentially walk through auto-clearance gates and have their biometrics verified on-the-move. In terms of registration, everything could be completed on-the-go. Yet, security is not only uncompromised, but could be strengthened even more.
“Travellers can potentially walk through auto-clearance gates and have their biometrics verified on-the-move.”
Coffee, yoga, music… what powers you through your day?
Lunch-break (literally). I make it a point to step out of the office during lunchtime to break away from work momentarily. Walking out into the open clears the mind and rebalances the self. Oftentimes, fresh perspectives and ideas flash across the mind during such breaks, and get me excited about returning to the assignment on hand.